What items would you take from your home if you were just given a few minutes to evacuate? Clothes, photos, important papers, special mementos….. It is something that we should all think about but very few of us do.
I know – I was one of them – until last night. Yesterday, a brush fire broke out in my town. And by 8:00 p.m. last night, sheriff’s deputies were going thru our community asking residents to evacuate. The smoke was thick in the air, the glow of the flames was visible from my front yard, and it seemed as though the threat was imminent.
Frantically, I grabbed items from the house – pictures, medicine, Joycie’s clothes, a few items of clothing for M and I, my camera, important papers. I thought I had grabbed everything that I would need. But when I arrived at my parent’s home I realized that I had forgotten – our computers, the video camera, the SD card with all the photos and videos of Joycie’s first year. Thankfully, M was able to put those items in his truck – as he had stayed behind to plow fire breaks, water yards and houses, and assist the fire department until the last possible second. (He is a volunteer fire fighter, so he has training)
While M, his parents and brother worked to safe our homes and farms, I sat by the phone – calling everyone I knew to solicit prayers – and to wait for updates from M. The amazing God that I served heard all the prayers that were lifted – because by 10:00 p.m. the winds had shifted pushing the fire away from our homes. And by midnight, I was safely tucked away in my bed. At last report, no homes or other structures had been lost.
However, we are still wary, as the fire is still burning and the slightest shift in the winds could push the flames towards us. Therefore, both of our vehicles remained loaded with the things that we chose last night.
This morning, as a I watch the sunrise through a smoky, hazy sky….I am grateful. Grateful that no homes were lost, that lives were spared, and that my family is safe and sound. And I feel prompted to encourage if you to create an evacuation plan for your family, make a checklist of items that you want to take with you if the worst was to happen, and most importantly hug each family member a little tighter today. If last night taught me anything, it is how fragile life is, and how quickly it could all be lost.